Head Start program staff members Carol Clarke (Training and Literacy Specialist) and Anita Young (Parent and Family Engagement Specialist) have recently attended the Farm to School conference and received trainings on ways to bring Farm to School learning to our Head Start classrooms.
What is Farm to School? The program in Georgia is coordinated by the Farm to School Alliance, which is a network that joins statewide agencies working in food, farming, and nutrition to combine resources and support. The overall goal of the program is to improve the health of Georgia’s children and our communities by increasing consumption of fresh, nutritious, locally grown foods in school meals.
After returning from the conference, Mrs. Clarke and Mrs. Young have worked quickly to begin putting Farm to School concepts into practice. Cooking activities have been held in several classrooms to increase the children’s knowledge of where foods come from and introduce some fresh, healthy ingredients that will help the children develop healthy, lifelong eating habits. Activities have included learning where maple syrup comes from, making chocolate chip cookie dough hummus from scratch, a cow milking simulation and making fruit and spinach smoothies. Learning is also taking place in classroom garden plots that we currently have at 10 of our program sites. Children are given the opportunity to get “hands on” experience by planting seeds, daily watering and tending, and harvesting mature fruits and vegetables. This is an exciting way for them to see the complete farm process and learn first-hand where fresh produce comes from.
Above: Students help with a recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough humus.
Below: Students learn how cows make milk.
Above: Students vote on whether they like the new recipe for humus.
Below: Students give milking a cow a try!
A complete curriculum is being developed and training will be taking place with Head Start teaching staff to continue spreading Farm to School concepts. We also look forward to involving parents and caregivers in future cooking activities. Involving the entire family in learning is a primary focus of the Head Start program, and also a way to ensure that healthy practices continue at home.
For more information about the Farm to School Alliance, visit https://georgiaorganics.org/summit/alliance.